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GolfWRX Morning 9: Better matchups than Tiger-Phil | Remembering the Skins Game | More arguments for watching The Match

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving, golf fans. I’m truly thankful for all of you that open this email every day (and only slightly less thankful for those of you who only open it some days). But truly, wishing you the best this holiday.
1. Instead of Tiger-Phil…
Michael Collins put down the microphone and stopped posting to social media long enough to do a bit of writing for ESPN. He proposes alternatives to the Tiger-Phil match that he’d rather see. Good stuff!
  • “Patrick Reed vs. Jordan Spieth...I know Reed would do most of the smack-talking — until Spieth got to a boiling point. That’s what everyone would be paying to see.”
  • “Dustin Johnson vs. Brooks Koepka…You’ll have to keep checking your television to make sure it’s not on mute. It won’t be. Oh, it’ll feel like it though. Silence. That’s exactly how much talking will be going on. They might mumble a word or two to each other, and we know what that would sound like. So … Vegas side bet: Over/under on how many times you hear “bro” or “brah” is set at 125.”
  • “Justin Thomas vs. Ian Poulter…Here’s the rule: Neither of them can talk. Just let them be surrounded by hecklers and see what happens. Poulter’s hecklers are chosen from Twitter and Thomas’ come only from select Auburn fans.”
2. Meanwhile, in Melbourne…
BBC Report…”England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Ian Poulter hold a share of the lead after the first round of the World Cup of Golf in Australia. In the opening round of fourballs, the pair shot a bogey-free 10-under par round of 62 in Melbourne.”
“They are level with Australia’s Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith as well as South Korean duo Kim Si-woo and An Byeong-hun. The two-man teams compete in alternate shot foursomes in Friday’s round two.”
3. What the Tour will be watching during Tiger-Phil
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in May to overturn the 1992 federal law that banned commercial sports betting in most states created a bold new landscape for all sports leagues, but particularly the Tour.”
  • “Assuming we get to the right place with fan protections and using the right data, our sport is in such a unique position,” Monahan said. “You look at the stick-and-ball sports, you see the ball, there’s one ball and one group of players that are all in front of you. You can see everything on one screen.
  • “In our sport, you’ve got 78 players out on the golf course at one point in time and we’ve got a system in ShotLink that produces a significant amount of data and a significant amount of possibilities. Think about what that can mean for our game, for our fans, it’s exciting.”
  • Those possibilities will get something of a cold open on Friday when Mickelson and Woods tee off at Shadow Creek. Although some say The Match is a decade too late, it’s a perfect model for officials to gauge fan interest of potential “in-play” betting. Although the Tour doesn’t have any historical data about Shadow Creek, Mickelson’s track record from, say, 10 feet (he ranked 164th last season on Tour with a 33.8 percent conversion) is well documented.
4. Another defense of The Match
This time, it’s Adam Woodard at USA Today telling you why you should watch. Countless (like, 4) reasons, he says.
  • A bit of his argument…”Both players won a PGA Tour event last season. Mickelson won the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, an event where only the world’s best qualify, and Woods won the Tour Championship, the final event of the Tour season featuring the year’s top 30 players.”
  • “Sponsors put up the $9 million prize, but Woods and Mickelson will pony up some of their own money on side bets throughout the competition, with all the money going to charity. On Tuesday, Mickelson baited Woods into a $200,000 bet that he will birdie the opening hole. Expect plenty more just like that.”
  • “Other expected bets will be long drive and closest-to-the-pin contests, with both players also likely proposing money challenges on putts and up-and-downs. The bets will likely be in the range of $10,000 to $50,000 per wager.”
  • “Both players and their caddies will be wearing microphones. Drone coverage will deliver “camera angles that have never been seen before for a live golf event,” according to a Turner Sports press release. Real-time, hole-by-hole statistics on the screen will display the probability of different outcomes.”
5. Remembering the Skins Game
Excellent stuff from Alex Myers at Golf Digest remembering the dearly departed Skins Game.
  • He rounds up a few of the most memorable moments, including…”Tom Watson accused Gary Player of cheating…”For the most part, the Skins Game epitomized hit-and-giggle golf, but things got a bit testy between two of the game’s legends during the inaugural event in 1983. With $120,000 on the line on the 16th hole, Watson was overheard confronting Player about allegedly illegally improving his lie by patting down a root behind his ball. Here’s what New York Times columnist Dave Anderson wrote:”
  • “From 30 feet away, Tom Watson could be heard saying, ‘I’m accusing you, Gary … you can’t do that … I’m tired of this … I wasn’t watching you, but I saw it.’ Gary Player could be heard defending himself, saying at one point, ‘I was within the rules.'”
  • “Watson maintained his belief that Player-knowingly or unknowingly-cheated and issued a statement the following day that said in part, “If we overlook the rules, then the game as we know it would become something much less than it is. My greatest regret, though, is that this private matter became a public incident.”
6. Vic Open, featuring men and women, will be co-sanctioned by LPGA Tour (Euro Tour too)
AP Report…”Golf Australia says the 2019 Vic Oen, which features both men and women playing simultaneously, will be co-sanctioned by the LPGA tour….The men’s portion of the tournament has already been announced to be on the European Tour next year.”
“Golf Australia said Wednesday the Vic Open will be held at 13th Beach Golf Links west of Melbourne from Feb. 7-10….The Women’s Australian Open, which has been on the LPGA tour for eight years, will now be part of a two-week Australian swing.”
7. Jack Nicklaus, President Trump tee it up
AP Report…”President Donald Trump is spending the first day of his Thanksgiving break taking advantage of the good golfing weather.”
  • “White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham says the president was playing “a quick round” on Wednesday with golf legend Jack Nicklaus, Nicklaus’s professional golfer son Gary, and his grandson G.T.”
  • “The trip is Trump’s first of the season to his private Mar-a-Lago club, where he typically spends Thanksgiving, Christmas and many winter weekends.”
8. Top Tiger-Phil showdowns
Great stuff from the Golfweek staff rounding up the best Woods-Mickelson showdowns from the past two decades.
  • It’d be unfair to just poach their No. 1 entry, so here’s No. 2…”2007 Deutsche Bank Championship”
  • “This is, without a doubt, Mickelson’s most impressive triumph in a duel with Woods. Mickelson began the final round two back and Woods was three behind. With this duo paired together and playing well that Monday, it would ultimately come down to them.”
  • “Lefty piled up five birdies in the opening 10 holes and was so dominant early on that this appeared it would be a rout. In fact, Woods was five back of Mickelson with seven to play. But the pressure would intensify. Mickelson made a sloppy double bogey at the 12th and Woods buried a 40-footer for birdie at the 14th to cut the lead to two.”
  • “The climax arrived at the par-3 16th, where Woods stepped up and knocked his tee shot to 10 feet. Mickelson answered in the cauldron by stuffing his approach 6 feet under the hole. Woods rolled in his birdie putt, but Mickelson calmly buried his own to retain an important two-shot margin.”
  • “It was a huge moment for Mickelson – who would go on to win by two shots – proving he could outduel Woods as Lefty was in the major-winning phase of his career.”
9. The biggest influence on your child’s development in sports
Interesting piece, as our Thomas Devine, a junior golf instructor and director of the Future Elite Junior Golf Programme, weighs in on the most important elements in a child’s athletic development.
  • He offers this in conclusion…”Whilst participation development models that acknowledge physical, technical, and other assets do hold great value, a model that completely disregards any social aspects of development has to be questioned. Below are the important take home points”
  • “Social aspects underpin everything we do and an acknowledgement of unique social situations is paramount in youth development…Luck can often play a huge part in youth development…Children should not be judged or selected based upon something that is out of their control….Be aware of relative age effect/biological age…..(but, do not make it your priority as neurological age is more important than biological age!!…Talking to parents and children is the key catalyst to bridging the gap between development and social issues….The relationships we develop with children are critical to motivations and lifelong participation.”
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  1. bill williams

    Nov 22, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    At least that five-some can walk and/or fly the golf course…. which is more than you can say about pot-bellied humans scurrying around in their golf carts.

    • ogo

      Nov 23, 2018 at 3:25 pm

      Turkeys can’t fly…. only waddle and gobble… and get roasted…!!

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Viral star, Hosung Choi, set for second start on the PGA Tour

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Hosung Choi, the man who has become a viral internet star due to his unique golf swing, made his PGA Tour debut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this year, and the South Korean is set to make his second start this summer, after accepting a sponsors exemption to play the John Deere Classic.

Choi missed the cut on his debut at Pebble Beach, firing rounds of 72-75-77 while playing alongside the likes of Jerry Kelly and Aaron Rodgers.

The 45-year-old won the 2018 Casio World Open at the back end of last year but has been quiet on the golf course in 2019. Besides his missed cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach, Choi has only made two other appearances, missing the cut at the Kenya Open and finishing T12 at the Singapore Open.

Those who have bought tickets for this year’s John Deere Classic in July can look forward to all of Choi’s beautiful eccentricities.

 

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Morning 9: Nelly! | Ogilvy on Rules changes | Phelps on watching Tiger | Nantz: “Best event I’ve covered”

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

April 18, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. Meanwhile, on the LPGA Tour…
…some actual golf action, to begin…
AP Report on round one of the Lotte Championship…
  • “Nelly Korda took advantage when Hawaii’s tough trade winds took a break.”
  • Korda rolled in the last of her nine birdies at the 18th in a bogey-free round of 63 Wednesday for a one-shot lead after the opening round of the Lotte Championship at Ko Olina Golf Club.
  • “I got here Saturday and I swear I couldn’t even walk because it was so windy,” said Korda, who is making her Lotte debut. “But I like the place. Everyone is really friendly and it just feels good to be here.”

Full piece.

2. Ogilvy on Rules changes
…the always interesting, abundantly informed Australian sounds off…
Writing for Golf Australia…
  • All of which brought me immediately back to the notion that the idea of simplifying rules almost automatically makes them more complicated. That it is what almost always happens when a committee decides something. I actually have some experience in that area, when I was on the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council…”
  • “…There were so many contingencies because a committee was involved. And it seems to me the same thing has happened with this ball-dropping thing. Nobody in the world now knows how to drop the ball properly. So we have a more complex situation than we had on December 31, 2018.”
  • “But it should be so simple. All we have to do is make it easy for a player to get the ball from hand to ground so that the game can continue. It’s that straightforward. But now we have a situation where you have to stand a certain way – you can’t bend your knees – and you have to drop from this exact height; not too low or high. The simplest thing in the world is now complicated.”
Also notable: this statement...”I have to think 99 percent of golfers have never consulted the rulebook on that one and things have been fine as far as I can see. This is really just a pro golf issue. So what is the point in foisting it on everyone?”
3. Phelps on watching Tiger
…how one GOAT got in prime position to watch another…
Tyler Lauletta at Business Insider…
  • On Wednesday, Phelps spoke with NBC Sports about how he wound up at the Masters in the first place, explaining that it had always been a dream of his to attend the tournament, and him being there for Woods’ big comeback win was more luck than anything.
  • “A mutual friend is a member,” Phelps said, explaining how he got his invite to one of the most difficult tickets in sports. “A buddy of mine called me Monday before the Masters. ‘I have a ticket? Do you want to go? I have a plane. Do you want to go?’ I was like, awesome, I’m going to the Masters for the first time.”
  • “As to how Phelps fell into front row seats to watch Woods tee off at No. 16, he says it came down to a helpful strangers that got to the tournament early on Sunday.”
  • “We started walking around the course and ran into a couple of nice people who had gotten to the gate early, at 3:30 a.m,” Phelps said. “They said, if you ever want to come back and sit on 16 with us, we have a couple of chairs. We got lucky, met a super nice guy working there that had some seats set up in some primo spots that we just had some pretty amazing access to.”
4. Even Stevie watched!
…tuning in for his former boss…
TVNZ report…
  • “Writing for Australian outlet the Player’s Voice, Williams says he now concentrated on playing golf rather than watching – until Monday morning earlier this week.”
  • “…I try to keep up with the news and will read about golf – but I just don’t watch it. Ever.
  • “Except for last Monday.”
  • “Fourteen years! It’s almost impossible to believe. And it had been 11 years since his last major – the US Open at Torrey Pines – which he had no right to win thanks to his torn cruciate ligament and fractured tibia.
  • “But that’s Tiger Woods – he does things no-one else could dream of doing.”

 

5. OWGR points for the Tour Championship
…two sets of books…
Doug Ferguson writes...”The PGA Tour will continue to keep a traditional score, even if it won’t be published, so that world ranking points can be awarded.”
  • “The Official World Golf Ranking board met last week at the Masters and approved a PGA Tour proposal that awards full ranking points based on where players would have finished without the staggered start.”
  • “The No. 1 seed in the FedEx Cup starts the tournament at 10 under, with the No. 2 seed at 8 under, and then 7 under, 6 under and 5 under. The next five players start at 4 under, all the way down until Nos. 26 through 30 begin at even par.”
6. “Best event I’ve ever covered”
…says Jim Nantz regarding the 2019 Masters…
The Washington Post’s Ben Strauss quoting Nantz…
  • “I’ve done 34 Final Fours, had Super Bowls, Peyton [Manning’s] farewell. It’s been 48 hours since it ended, and I’d say it’s going to feel about the same 10 years from now,” said Nantz, who has already called this year’s Super Bowl and Final Four in addition to the Masters since February. “It’s the best event I’ve ever covered. And I feel very fortunate to have been in that spot.”
7. DeChambeau’s grip change
…much lighter, but still Jumbo…
Andrew Tursky at PGATour.com on the pre-Masters overhaul…
  • “After a 14-hour range session in Dallas the week before the Masters, Dechambeau made a 75-gram reduction in his oversized JumboMax grip weights in his Cobra clubs. His new grips, made from a different lightweight compound, now measure just more than 50 grams, considered to be a “normal” weight by industry standards, despite their relatively massive size. He also changed from True Temper Dynamic Gold X7 shafts – extremely heavy and stiff iron shafts – to Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts, which flex more than his previous gamer shafts.”
  • “Ever since he came on TOUR, DeChambeau used JumboMax grips on his clubs that measured about 125 grams per grip. He now works on his equipment with Cobra’s TOUR Operations Manager Ben Schomin, who says Dechambeau has improved his wedge play since first coming out on TOUR, but lately DeChambeau had struggled to find consistency with the flight of his wedges. The main issues were that spin was inconsistent and they tended to fly too high. For his part, Schomin built him wedges that used weld beads on the heel to help with face closure. While Schomin says it helped, DeChambeau — currently T105 in Strokes Gained: Around the Greens — wasn’t satisfied with his wedge play.”
  • “Schomin and DeChambeau, chasing consistency with the wedges, decided to begin testing different variables. As it turned out, DeChambeau liked the feel of a 50-gram grip, versus his old 125-gram grips, and the new build allowed DeChambeau to flight the wedges lower, and gain spin and launch consistency.”
8. An interesting note on Masters coverage
…how did Molinari set himself up for his water-destined third shot at the 15th?…
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers…
  • “Thanks as always to ClassicTVsports.com for charting all the shots televised during the final round of a major. The site confirmed what I believed to be true while being in and out of the Augusta National media center on Sunday: Molinari’s second shot on No. 15 never made it on TV.”
  • “Even after his disastrous double bogey on No. 12, Molinari arrived at the Augusta’s final par 5 tied for the lead with Woods, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, and Xander Schauffele. So why wasn’t his second shot shown? Well, it was just a layup after a poor drive, but that punchout from the right pine straw proved to be pivotal. It wound up running through the fairway and into the left rough. It should be noted you can see the shot on the Masters digital platforms, which, remarkably, attempted to show every shot from the tournament.”
  • “Although Molinari only had 79 yards for his third, which was shown live, his angle was so extreme that his golf ball caught a pine tree and dropped into the pond guarding the green. A surprised Molinari, who had just one bogey through the first 60 holes of the tournament, never recovered from his second double bogey in four holes. Meanwhile, Woods hit two great shots on the hole to find the green. And two putts later he had the solo lead for the first time all week, a lead he would not relinquish.”
9. Ho Sung mania is coming to the John Deere Classic
…the fisherman’s swing returneth to the PGA Tour…
The tournament announced Chou has been handed a sponsors exemption to the July tournament.
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Meteorologist received death threats for interrupting Masters coverage during most-watched morning golf round of all time

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Tornados brewing in the Georgia area meant an earlier start than usual for the final round of the Masters, and one CBS46 meteorologist was to receive death threats for interrupting coverage of the event to update residents in the area of the conditions.

Ella Dorsey took to Twitter on Sunday to report not just the vile abuse she was receiving, but also the importance of the work she was doing which cut into local Masters coverage.

Per The Weather Channel who spoke to local experts, who while being prepared for the backlash in interrupting the coverage to warn residents, were stunned by the level of abuse of some. On the subject, station news director Steve Doerr said

“The venom around this was insane, even by social media standards.”

CBS released its viewing figures for Sunday’s morning round, with an average of 10.8 million viewers tuning in to watch Tiger Woods claim his fifth green jacket. That total bested the 8.56 million number, according to Nielsen data, from the 2000 Open Championship which previously held the morning record.

According to CBS, the broadcasts viewership peaked between 2.15 and 2.30 ET with 18.3 million tuning in.

 

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